What Growing Christians Need

October 17, 2007 | Comments Off on What Growing Christians Need

My friend, Mary Schaller of SeekerMinistries and I were talking last week about what makes small groups successful. She mentioned a new market research study done by Willow Creek Community church that has found some fascinating information about how people grow. The study is called Reveal and is described in their online magazine and in a monograph available from Willow Creek.

In brief, they found that there are four distinct segments along what they call the spiritual continuum: Exploring, Growing in Christ, Close to Christ, and Christ-Centered. Each of these segments has unique needs as they mature. Willow Creek found they were doing well with some groups and not so well with others.

They found that the things that made a difference in moving people from one segment to the next were basically the spiritual disciplines: spending time with God, spending time in the Bible, reading, reflection and meditation, and prayer. And to their chagrin, they found that the further on the continuum a person traveled, the less they needed the services offered by the organized church. They had become self-feeders.

And that’s good news. It gives us language from which we can set goals and measure the growth of the people in our churches and small groups. And maybe the fact that so many mature Christians have given up on the church isn’t as awful as it seems. Or maybe it means that we need to approach them differently and use them differently. Food for thought…. And prayer.

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